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Net Income Approach suggests that value of the firm can be increased by decreasing the overall cost of capital (WACC) through higher debt proportion. There are various theories which propagate the ‘ideal’ capital mix / capital structure for a firm. Capital structure is the proportion of debt and equity in which a corporate finances its business. The capital structure of a company/firm plays a very important role in determining the value of a firm.
Introduction to Capital Structure Theory
A corporate can finance its business mainly by 2 means i.e. debts and equity. However, the proportion of each of these could vary from business to business. A company can choose to have a structure which has 50% each of debt and equity or more of one and less of another. Capital structure is also referred to as financial leverage, which strictly means the proportion of debt or borrowed funds in the financing mix of a company.
Debt structuring can be a handy option because the interest payable on debts is tax deductible (deductible from net profit before tax). Hence, debt is a cheaper source of finance. But increasing debt has its own share of drawbacks like increased risk of bankruptcy, increased fixed interest obligations etc.
For finding the optimum capital structure in order to maximize shareholder’s wealth or value of the firm, different theories (approaches) have evolved. Let us now look at the first approach
Net Income Approach Explained
Net Income Approach was presented by Durand. The theory suggests increasing value of the firm by decreasing the overall cost of capital which is measured in terms of Weighted Average Cost of Capital. This can be done by having a higher proportion of debt, which is a cheaper source of finance compared to equity finance.
Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) is the weighted average costs of equity and debts where the weights are the amount of capital raised from each source.
WACC 
= 
Required Rate of Return x Amount of Equity + Rate of Interest x Amount of Debt 
Total Amount of Capital (Debt + Equity) 
According to Net Income Approach, change in the financial leverage of a firm will lead to a corresponding change in the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) and also the value of the company. The Net Income Approach suggests that with the increase in leverage (proportion of debt), the WACC decreases and the value of firm increases. On the other hand, if there is a decrease in the leverage, the WACC increases and thereby the value of the firm decreases.
For example, visàvis equitydebt mix of 50:50, if the equitydebt mix changes to 20: 80, it would have a positive impact on the value of the business and thereby increase the value per share.
Assumptions of Net Income Approach
Net Income Approach makes certain assumptions which are as follows.
 The increase in debt will not affect the confidence levels of the investors.
 The cost of debt is less than the cost of equity.
 There are no taxes levied.
Example
Consider a fictitious company with below figures. All figures in USD.
Earnings before Interest Tax (EBIT)  =  100,000 
Bonds (Debt part)  =  300,000 
Cost of Bonds issued (Debt)  =  10% 
Cost of Equity  =  14% 
Calculating the value of a company
EBIT  =  100,000 
Less: Interest cost (10% of 300,000)  =  30,000 
Earnings after Interest Tax (since tax is assumed to be absent)  =  70,000 
Shareholders’ Earnings  =  70,000 
Market value of Equity (70,000/14%)  =  500,000 
Market value of Debt  =  300,000 
Total Market value  =  800,000 
Overall cost of capital  =  EBIT/(Total value of firm) 
=  100,000/800,000  
=  12.5% 
Now, assume that the proportion of debt increases from 300,000 to 400,000 and everything else remains same.
(EBIT) 
= 
100,000 
Less: Interest cost (10% of 300,000) 
= 
40,000 
Earnings after Interest Tax (since tax is assumed to be absent) 
= 
60,000 
Shareholders’ Earnings 
= 
60,000 
Market value of Equity (60,000/14%) 
= 
428,570 (approx) 
Market value of Debt 
= 
400,000 
Total Market value 
= 
828,570 
Overall cost of capital 
= 
EBIT/(Total value of firm) 
= 
100,000/828,570 

= 
12% (approx) 
As observed, in case of Net Income Approach, with increase in debt proportion, the total market value of the company increases and cost of capital decreases.
Last updated on : August 31st, 2017
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